Having spent the last ten years with a murder charge hanging over him, 58-year-old Chilume Ntini was declared a free man on Tuesday.
Francistown High Court put an end to a decade of despair for the Goshwe elder, acquitting and discharging him due to lack of evidence.
Ntini was accused of killing Zimbabwean national, Lizwe Ncube, 55, who was shot dead on 22 June, 2009 at Mooke land.
Originally, the four men were arrested in connection with the murder but eventually the charges were dropped against three of them – including Ntini’s brother, Victor Tshwenyego.
Although he only spent three months in jail and was bailed for the duration of the trial, Ntini remained accused.
The prosecution’s main gripe against him was that he had allegedly been in possession of a gun – the weapon actually belonged to Tshwenyego – at the time Ncube was shot.
In his ruling, High Court Judge, Barnabas Nyamadzabo, noted that the case dates back to 2009 yet only two witnesses had been called.
“The other witnesses are suspected to be in Zimbabwe. They have been searched for for so long and there is no proof they will be found. Even the names they used, we don’t know if they were really theirs,” highlighted the Judge.
Outside court, a frail looking Ntini was all smiles, displaying a wide gap between uneven teeth set in a shrunken, gaunt face. He looks much older than his 58 years – stress has taken its toll.
The ecstatic elder’s eyes shone with youthful excitement, however, as he said, “Being accused of murder is a big thing and when you know you didn’t commit the offence, then it hurts worse!
“I am very, very happy my child that the matter has finally come to an end after ten years!”
Shortly after the acquittal, Tshwenyego turned up at The Voice’s Francistown office, where he expressed his thanks to God for answering the family’s prayers and ensuring ‘justice was served’.
“I knew my brother didn’t do it. The deceased had broken into my house. We followed him and we heard a gun-shot but when we went on to report to the police, they thought we were the ones who killed him!”